|03-29-2012, 07:40 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Portland, OR
Mirrorring - Foreign Body (2012)
Rated - 3.5/5
To gain the best perspective on Mirrorring, a collaboration between Liz Harris (Grouper) and Jesy Fortino (Tiny Vipers) and their Foreign Body album together it helps to know the nuances of their individual work. It’s not a prerequisite but if you are coming at this completely cold an understanding of Harris’ compulsion to obfuscate and layer textures whereas Fortino’s tends to reduce her sounds to spare single lines working against space is a good indicator of what makes these six songs tick.
Both artists bring their own familiar tendencies to the mix and it’s only occasionally that the slow burn and build of the songs is met with a sum greater than their individual parts. Album opener ‘Fell Sounds’ for instance is ember bright in it’s melding of both artists strengths, the molten flow of the music matched by a heightened tension as the breathed vocals wash in and out of the mix.
Elsewhere there’s less of a meeting of minds and one artist presses their identity to the fore in more dominant fashion such as the slow-folk lilt of ‘Silent From Above’ captures Fortino’s deft guitar picking amongst an aural dusting from Harris in production that threatens and eventually succeeds in rolling over the minimalism of the guitar’s vibrations with it’s ‘quiet’ wall of sound.
The ebb and flow is expected as despite any common ground the two women come at their music from differing perspectives but even though it’s less cohesive a collaboration that it might otherwise have been it’s no less effecting as a result. When the music pulls you closer to the speakers, turned up loud, to hear the subtlest of melodies subdued way down in the mix you find yourself suddenly immersed in the wider sea of sounds.
The Mirrorring effect is something the two contend with in their songwriting, Fortino with her very grounded, corporeal sensibilities and Harris’ heavenly, expansive gaze pull each song in new directions, a reflection of the same view from differing perspectives. So we’re not presented with direct mirror images more like a series of through the looking glass ‘what ifs’, adding or subtracting something from the other in an attempt to balance things out.
Foreign Body is not an album that gels completely, it doesn’t feel like a selfless, unified result of the composers involved but it is nevertheless a harmonious pairing strong enough to stimulate the mind, allowing the best of each to shine. It’s a work to ponder on, revel in it’s beauty, soak in and has a lightness of touch – even respectfulness – that it’s never too far off the path of melodious despite the subtle mournful undercurrent.